I can’t believe the interest shown in the murders of Johnson and Nina Agrue, their sons William and Leo and their 11 year-old granddaughter Mary Breeden on May 16, 1941 in Dearborn County, Indiana. I started researching the tale a few years ago when my mother told me the story as she knew it, hearing it from her mother. It wasn’t talked about much in my family. Little Mary was the daughter of my great-uncle Oakley Breeden and my first cousin once removed. Her father and my grandmother were siblings and after the murder, family members said he distanced himself from everyone.
I’ve managed to gather quite a bit of info, but there is more out there. I haven’t been able to work on my research consistently for the past couple of years, but the response I have been getting lately from other family members has renewed my interest and renewed my dedication to get to the bottom of the story.
Stay tune… more is definitely coming!
Genealogy is the hunt for the unknown. And when you search and seek answers to questions long quieted, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. We all have skeletons.
For years I’ve heard stories of my Uncle Oakley’s daughter being murdered. My mom and Aunt Jean used to tell me that it was so famous, there even was a song made about it. But that’s all they could tell me. Apparently, no one ever wanted to talk about it so after my cousin’s father and grandparents passed on, there was no one who knew the actual story. So, being the Nancy Drew type, I’ve been searching for the answers…. and boy have I found some!
The story is true. I’m still working on putting my findings together but what is an indisputable fact is that about supper time on May 16, 1941, Johnson W. Agrue, his wife Nina, their two sons, William and Leo Agrue and their 12-year-old granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth BREEDEN, were all found shot to death at point blank range. Five lives taken in less than 30 minutes… with dinner still on the stove.
There are lots of twists and turns in this story. Blurred relationships and scandals. As I’ve said, we all have skeletons. The hunt for the answers and consequently trial, made Dearborn history. It made Indiana history.
Stay tune for more….